You're thinking of applying to grad school at IU and you want to know whether I am taking students....

General answer: Strictly speaking, I don't "take" students. They are admitted through one of four PhD programs where I have varying degrees of input into the collective decision making process. These programs are (1) History & Philosophy of Science & Medicine (HPS), (2) Cognitive Science (COGS), (3) Neuroscience (PNS), and (4) Philosophy (PHIL). I am a full voting member of the first three, but only an adjunct member of the fourth (PHIL), which means I have no direct role in their admissions and funding decisions. To date, the students I have advised have been evenly split between HPS, COGS, and PHIL. I have only recently (2013) joined the program in neuroscience faculty, although one of my COGS students pursued a dual degree with PNS. Over the past ten years roughly one third of my advisees are from PHIL department, so if you want me to be your advisor, then that's not a bad route to follow. I am also currently co-advising a student who was admitted through the School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC) and is a dual-major PhD with COGS. IU also lets you apply to more than one program for the same application fee. It is important to tailor your applications to the requirements of each program, otherwise each one is likely to decide that you fit better with the others and you may get accepted by none of them. You should also consider IU's dual degree option (aka joint degree), but you will still need to decide which would be your primary major and aim to be admitted there first. (Hint: it is probably easier to add COGS as a 2nd major to either of the others than it is to be admitted by COGS and then try to add one of the others. This typically happens during your 2nd year of study, when you have shown to COGS faculty in their courses that you are a good candidate for the joint degree.) IU requires its PhD students to minor in another area (unless they are pursuing a double major), so even if you have only one major program, you will still have the opportunity to take courses in another without going all the way to a dual degree.  There is a lot of interdisciplinary crossover at IU, including a requirement for graduate students to do a minor outside their field, which is one of the things that makes IU a special place. In that regard, the PhD minor in animal behavior through IU's Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, where I am also a faculty affiliate, may be of interest.

Which program is best for you? Well, that really depends on you! All four PhD degree programs take students with interdisciplinary interests. Students aiming to professionalize in philosophy can do so through PHIL, HPS, or COGS. Those aiming to pursue careers as scientists should choose COGS or PNS. All four seek students who will be comfortable with the full range of requirements within the respective programs. If you apply to HPS, then you are competing with applicants who have historical interests too. If you apply to COGS then you are competing with scientists. If you apply to PHIL, then you are competing for slots against ethicists, epistemologists, medievalists, etc. And if you apply to PNS you are competing against applicants who span cognitive neuroscience to neurophysiology. You should look carefully at degree requirements for all three programs (links above) and consider that you will have rather different requirements for each of them. None of these programs close out other options completely, but you should think hard about where you see yourself working once you get your PhD. If you want to be working in a scientific context, then COGS will be important either as your primary major or secondary major. If you want to be a philosophy professor in large, research-oriented university, or if your idea of a dream job is at a small liberal arts College then Philosophy with an HPS minor, or HPS with a Philosophy minor could be good, although a COGS major or COGS minor is also viable. You should also consider that HPS and COGS take fewer students than PHIL in a normal year, but I don't have the numbers needed to give precise answers questions about proportions of applicants admitted. However, the odds of admission to any of these programs is probably in the 5-10% range. It is a highly competitive process and we turn away many well-qualified students. Questions specific to each program should be directed to their current directors of graduate studies, whose names and email addresses can be found through the respective websites.

Can I give specific advice about your application? No, I cannot answer direct questions about how to customize your applications, nor will I give specific encouragement or discouragement to apply. However, in general I think there are several things you should consider. First, you are applying to a department or program, and not to an individual -- so you should do your best to explain why the program is a good fit for you and why you are a good fit for the program. You may be focused on one faculty member in particular, but look at the others to see how they can contribute to your education. Bear in mind that your interests are quite likely to change during the first couple of years of graduate school, so you may not want to put all your eggs in one basket. The writing sample accompanying your application should simply be your best piece of work, regardless of area.

What do I expect of my students? I expect all to have some significant interdisciplinary interests, meaning typically that they don't just want to contribute to the philosophy of some science, but to be engaged with that science itself. I work best with students who are intellectually curious outside their chosen fields, who take advantage of the myriad talks and reading groups available at IU, and who show initiative in finding answers to their questions. If you don't meet your deadlines, I won't chase you down, and I may lose track of your progress. Once my students are close to starting their dissertation research, usually in midway through the 3rd year, I expect weekly attendance at my dissertation writer's group, and this involves a regular writing assignment. The following students are those I have worked most closely with, so can tell you more about what I'm like as an advisor.

*=dissertation committee chaired or co-chaired by me
††=tenured; †=tenure track faculty

[2005] *†Hilmi Demir PHIL+COGS → Bilkent University, Turkey
[2006] *††Steve Crowley PHIL → Boise State, ID
[2008] *††Ronaldo Vigo COGS → Ohio University, Athens, OH
[2008] ††Melinda Fagan HPS → Rice University, Houston, TX → University of Utah
[2008] *†Brian Hood HPS → University of West Florida
[2011] *Carlos Zednik COGS → University of Osnabrück
[2011] *†Cameron Buckner PHIL → University of Houston
[2011] *
Grant Goodrich HPS → The Citadel, South Carolina
[2011] *†Ellie Hua Wang PHIL+COGS → NCCU, Taiwan
[2012] *†Kari Theurer PHIL → Trinity College, Hartford, CT
[2012] Andrew McAninch PHIL → Mellon postdoc at U. Penn
[2013] Irina Meketa HPS@Boston University → PNP postdoc at Wash. U. St. Louis
[2014] *Alejandra Rossi COGS+NEURO → postdoc at Harvard Medical
[2014] David Braithwaite COGS → postdoc at CMU
[2014] Jun Otsuka HPS → postdoc at UC Davis
[2014] Brent Kievit-Kylar COGS → postdoc at IU
[2015] Dongil Song ED → Sam Houston State University, TX
[2015] Rob Bowers COGS

Current dissertation writers
Matthew Hurley COGS
ChiaHua Lin PHIL@University of South Carolina

Current pre-dissertation advisees
Jaimie Murdock SOIC+COGS
Jon Oatess HPS+COGS
Robert Rose COGS+MATH
Shane Zappettini HPS+COGS
Dylan Black PHIL
Kevin Mills PHIL

Other notable current students
Melody Dye COGS
Robert Mahaney ANTH/COGS
Evan Arnet HPS
Sam Nordli COGS
Ali Ghazinejad SOIC
Torrin Liddell PBS+COGS
Kimberly Brumble HPS
Dan Qaurooni COGS
Anastasia Nikoulina COGS/PNS
Ryan Ketchum HPS
Eran Agmon COGS

Postdoctoral advisees
Karola Stotz (IU → Sydney)
Michael Trestman (IU → software developer)

Current Masters advisees
Chris Stiso HPS (MA)